- We are responsible for the quality of our products and services.
- We are responsible for the way our products are made.
- We are responsible for the impact our products have.
- We are responsible for the way our products are used and disposed of.
Our company undergoes continuous assessment in order that we can improve and maintain the highest possible standards of ethical best practice at all times.
5. Textile Processing
We believe we have a responsibility to work transparently with every person, factory and community along our supply chain in order to create an environment of trust in which trade can be a positive experience for all.
1.1 To our customers
We believe we have a responsibility to our customers to produce high quality, well-made, well-fitting, long lasting and beautiful textiles and clothes that the customer can buy with full peace of mind. In order to make this possible, we believe we have a responsibility to educate the consumer about the origins of their clothes.
1.2 To our suppliers
We believe we have a responsibility to our suppliers to treat them fairly and respectfully, through a clear and fair buying procedure, avoiding rushed orders which lead to can lead to bad working conditions in factories.We actively promote the welfare of every person in the production chain to ensure that they are free and happy to work in safe and clean conditions, receiving a decent wage for their hours worked and producing clothes and crops which they can have pride and satisfaction in making.
1.3 To the environment
We believe we have a responsibility to our planet and to everyone on it to produce textiles and clothes made from biodegradable materials, in a way that continuously seeks to move towards zero environmental impact.
We believe that sustainability at every level is the basis of ethical and environmentally sound production.
2.1 Sustainable Fibre
"The production of man-made fibres from oil is not sustainable therefore Gossypium uses natural fibres which are ultimately biodegradable. The addition of elastic yarns and trims is limited to less than 5%.
2.2 Sustainable Farming
Soil Fertility - Our cotton is grown under the ICM farming programme implemented by Agrocel, which means that is was grown in the most sustainable way, ensuring continued soil fertility.
Bio-diversity - Part of the ICM programme implemented by Agrocel is the encouragement to farmers to introduce bio-diversity and crop rotation, ensuring protection from disease and crop damage. Importantly, this also ensures that the farmer is not wholly dependant on the cotton trade.
Water Management - Innovative methods of water management are used, ensuring that there is enough water available on the farm and no water is wasted.
2.3 Sustainable livelihoods for all workers
Growers - Our sister company Agrocel guarantees the purchase of cotton, this enables farmers to have a steady income and ensures that there is year round availability of organic cotton to cater for growing demand.
Factory Workers - We aim to foster a healthy working environment that is pleasant to work in and that allows for the generation of satisfying and 'worth while' work.
2.4 Sustainable methods of production
Long Term Trading Relationships
We are aiming to build up long term relationships with factories, which enables all parties to develop the highest level of understanding about each others needs and constraints, leading to the development of reasonable and positive working conditions.
Close to Source
We believe in making our textiles as close as possible to the farmers, this fosters transparency within the community and helps to encourage best practice in the manufacture of yarn and garment.
2.5 Sustainable Clothes
Clothes and Textiles of 'Value - We are committed to producing high quality, long lasting clothes, which ensures that the environmental and social cost of production is reflected in how much the clothes are valued.
Style - We do not change our styles each season, but continue year on year, which increases the quality of our product and allows workers to increase their level of competence for particular production.
We aim to be completely transparent in all our business dealings
3.1 From Farmer to Consumer
We are involved in and have direct contact with every part of our supply chain, from farmer to supplier to consumer. We believe that this is the best way to ensure that ethical and environmental standards are maintained.
With Customers - We believe that we have a responsibility to our customers to make available the company polices and codes of practice as well as the origin of our products.
With Suppliers - We believe in dealing fairly and respectfully with our trading partners and we ensure that communication channels are open and direct at all levels of the supply chain.
3.3 Names and Locations:
We have the names and locations of all companies and factories in our supply chain, everybody handling our goods from cotton grower to distributor to final destination.
All our cotton comes from small Indian and organic farms that use natural methods of farming to maintain a fertile soil and to defend themselves against pests and disease. All cotton that we use comes from cotton farms certified by SKAL, a European Organic Inspection Agency and FLO the worldwide Fairtrade Standard Setting and Certification Organisation.
4.1 Environmental Policies for Growers
Organic Criteria - Only Agrocel Pure and Fair cotton, grown under the supervision of the Agrocel Service centres are used.
The holistic and natural methods used to produce the cotton we use include:Using farming methods that maintain soil fertility
- Using natural methods of pest control
- Using natural methods of disease control
- Crop Rotation is compulsory, ensuring continued soil fertility and increased protection from disease and pest damage
- The whole cotton plant is used, eg the seeds for oil and food, ensuring that there is no waste.
Organic criteria are certified by SKAL Ifoam
Our products are certified by the soil association License No DK19265
GM Policy - We have a no GM policy for production of all our cotton
4.2 Social Policies for Growers
Our partner company Agrocel, are a farmer's co-operative in India, formed to service the needs of the cotton farmer. All our cotton comes from Agrocel and Agrocel ensures the following:
All the cotton grown by farmers is bought immediately by Agrocel. This guarantees farmers their income and enables a 'cotton bank' to form, which ensures a steady price for growers and steady supply for factories.
Services for Growers
Agrocel provide service centres, where growers can buy all tools and farming equipment needed.
Agrocel provide an on-site service, providing advice and problem serving for farmers.
Training and Education for Growers
Training is provided by Agrocel to educate farmers in integrated crop management and organic farming methods.
Fair remuneration for farm labourers
Farmers are paid a fair price, 8% above the market price for their organic cotton. This is because the cotton is of a higher quality and also to compensate for possible lower crop yields for growing organically.
Health and Safety for Growers
Growing cotton organically ensures that farmer's health is not endangered due to the handling of dangerous pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.
Every aspect of animal welfare is actively encouraged.
We believe in the use of animals over machines as the most sustainable and appropriate method of heavy work for the types of small farms on which our cotton is grown.
5. TEXTILE PROCESSING
We aim to establish a long term trading relationship with all our suppliers, while generating worth-while work and producing high quality clothes. We encourage ethical and environmental best practice along every part of our supply chain.
5.1 Long Term Trading Relationships
We aim to work respectfully with our suppliers through a process of mutual respect and review. We believe in building up long term trading relationships with our suppliers to foster trust and enable the development of quality products and the continuous assessment of ethical and environmental techniques.
5.2 'Worth-while' Work
We aim to help to develop factory conditions that are enjoyable to work in and that enable workers to take pride and satisfaction in the clothes they have produced. We believe that we can do this by encouraging good employment practice and developing clothes that are of superior quality and of the highest workmanship.
We design our products to match the skills available and use hand work and technology appropriately.
5.3 Local Custom and Legislation
- We believe that all factories should work in line with local custom and practice, respecting local cultural or religious holidays and giving workers facilities in line with local customs.
- We ask that factories give adequate holidays and time-off to accommodate for local cultural or religious events.
- We only work with factories that comply fully with local legislation.
5.4 Fair Price
In Cash - We ask that manufacturers pay cotton suppliers the asking price, promptly and in cash, to ensure growers and the farming co-operative, a steady income.
Remuneration for workers - We only work with manufacturers where all workers are paid at the local minimum wage or more.
5.5 Training and Capacity building
Our company aims to work with suppliers who seek to develop worker's skills over a long time frame. Long Term trading relationships ensure that trust is built over time between our company and our suppliers and methods of best practice are developed over time between the two parties.
5.6 Worker Relations
We believe that all factories should provide adequate hygiene, food, storage and transport in accordance with local custom.
We only work with factories where labour is voluntary.
5.7 Gender Equality
Flexibility - We believe that women should be able to take children to work with them if they wish, in accordance with local custom.
We expect our manufacturers to have a policy of maternity leave for all workers.
Mother/Child Health - The special health and safety needs of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers must be taken in to account.
5.8 Child Labour
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Gossypium respects the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the law and social norms in the local context, in order to ensure that the participation of children in the production process does not affect their will being, security, educational requirements and need for pay.
Forced Labour - We do not work in factories where children are forced to work.
5.9 Trading Terms
We operate trading terms that include supplier as well as buying terms from Gossypium. In this way we aim to build up a process of transparency and mutual communication with our suppliers. We do not have a policy of discounts for late orders.
5.10 Codes of Practice
We meet our suppliers annually and check that all parties in the business process are aware of our ethical and environmental requirements.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES FOR SUPPLIERS
5.11 Organic Cotton
Only branded cotton from Agrocel Pure & Fair, or the Vasudha cotton brand is used in garments for Gossypium.
Minimal Use - We favour mechanical finishing processes and use as few chemical dyes and finishes as possible.
Transparency - Gossypium expects full transparency on behalf of the supplier regarding both wet and dry processing.
Approved by Gossypium - All chemicals, dyes and finishes are specified by Gossypium before production starts.
Substances not used (unless specified on product) include:
....................o Azo Dyes
....................o After Chromed Dyes
....................o Flame Retardents
....................o Chlorine Bleaches
....................o Silicone Finishes
....................o All our printed items, including baby clothes are printed with water based inks only unless specified on product.
Suppliers are expected to use energy, water and resources with care and respect.
Right First Time Policy: Gossypium operates a 'Right First Time' policy by specifying clearly at time of order, which ensures that fabric and garment wastages do not occur due to rushed orders, or mistakes in the production chain.
A new policy is to check the lay plans for garment waste and work together to optimize fabric usage to over 97%
o Suppliers are expected to have their own methods of safe and environmentally sound waste disposal in accordance with the scale of their business.
o Suppliers are expected to minimise their consumption of raw materials (i.e. cotton fibre) by operating efficiently.
o Anti-dumping Policy/Zero Waste
The supplier must be committed to finding a suitable use for all faulty goods, in agreement with Gossypium on a case by case basis. (this has not been required for the last 3 years)
o We aim to use the shortest route along every part of the supply chain to ensure that oil or diesel pollution is minimised. Goods travel nationally by road and internationally, by sea.
o All suppliers are partly chosen on the basis of proximity to the growers.
NEW SOURCES APPROVAL PROCESS
Before any production begins, we ensure that all new factories with whom we would like to work, undergo a selection process to ensure that they can meet our social and environmental requirements.
The selection criteria are:
Before entering into any trading agreement, at least one director from Gossypium meets with factory directors face to face and must be satisfied of their commitment to their social and environmental responsibilities.
Gossypium will only work with factories that have full transparency and keep efficient and effective record keeping and are happy to share this information upon request.
All suppliers and factories must be as close to the cotton fields or the final market, and no third country processing is used. This is to reduce transport pollution, time delays and wastage.
d) Local Laws
Gossypium will only consider working with factories that respect their local laws regarding employment and will not work in countries where these laws do not exist.
e) Efficient Technology
Gossypium must see that the factory to be used is clean and tidy enough to provide a safe and clean working environment for workers and have the appropriate equipment to produce clothes of high quality.
f) Adequate Size
Gossypium must be satisfied that the factory is large enough and able to plan well enough ahead, to accommodate orders without needing to subcontract.
Posted on the 29th August 2005, last reviewed 1st August 2008